If you can dream it, you can do it. -Walt Disney
Quality is a great business plan. -John Lasseter
Let's make some funny pictures. -Tex Avery
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. -Howard Zinn
When critics sit in judgment it is hard to tell where justice leaves off and vengeance begins. -Chuck Jones
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? -Jesus
A man should never neglect his family for business. -Walt Disney
What's most important in animation is the emotions and the ideas being portrayed. -Ralph Bakshi
Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about. -Chuck Jones
Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. -Buddhist Proverb
Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
Hey I am very curious what you guys think about style and what the studios like. I have been curious lately to what the students at Cal Arts and Sheridan College have to do. I looked up their blog stuff and their work is really great but why does it feel like they have to make it Mary Blair style. Now there are people who are amazing in that look but is that really what they want? I feel like its 98% that look and 2% graffiti gritty comic look...What do you guys think? I'm not saying either that I am much better or anything I like Blair for composition and color...but I also feel there is more, or do the studios not consider anything else?
Hey there Heidi. Great topic! And a very pertinent one as well.
My advice for what it's worth is to develop your own style. Find a stylistic approach that appeals to you and go from there.
Be a first rate YOU and don't get too caught up in imitating too much. It's okay to be influenced but what you really want is to be someone that others try and emulate.
Look at Mary Blair and how everyone is trying to copy her. Ideally that's where you want to be at some point in your future.
Experiment and discover new ways of expressing a graphic idea. Diversify but stay rooted in your fundamentals. Also develop your ability to draw and design with a full expression of form, perspective and depth of field as it will help when projects that involve designing for CG animation come around.
Keep Creating is more than just a mantra. It's what you absolutely need to do in order to achieve excellence with your art.
Hope this helps.
That's a good point about imitating. There have maybe one or two people that I have thought about copying their stuff that was obviously influenced by Blair and Golden Books stuff. But for the most part the students that I see their work is good and very proficient in that style, but its an obvious imitation and I would rather just go to the source.
My concern though is these schools though. Are they saying do this style? why are they not saying cut it out? After I looked at ton of different blogs, they were good but way to similar in style which kind of makes it meaningless.
Take a look at how Shane Glines was influenced by Bruce Timm and how he developed his own style. Also Bruce was influenced by Jack Kirby and others from 1960s comics and he developed his own style.
Let's say you get into the Mary Blair retro style. It has its positives and is very appealing design wise. Let's say you have a chance to work on the God of War or the Unchartered video game franchise. The Mary Blair style won't do you much good in those situations unless you're able to adapt.
Find a style that's right for you and try to diversify. I prefer being flexible than entrenched in just one approach.
I don't know if this is the case but I imagine that schools don't necessarily aim to get their students on a particular style, but perhaps just the fact that a load of students will be learning from one teacher is what creates the perception of style stagnation.
I guess the most important thing for an artist is what he/she does outside school. It's important to diversify what you take in as inspiration rather than sticking to one or two sources. In fact I guess it's important to try to expose yourself even to things that you don't like.
I think too much emphasis is placed on finding a style too....a style will take care of itself, it doesn't need to be hunted for.
A good friend gave a presentation at Cal Arts recently and they related their impressions of the work they saw there from third year students.
As they put it... "I noticed a lot of basic fundamental flaws happening in relatively stylized drawings. They had flawed turnarounds and volume issues, construction problems. I know there are also some super star draftsmen that attend the school that don't have those issues, but it was really surprising to see the average student still have glaring mistakes in their drawings. But they still showed lots of promise and appeal overall. "
Here's the economics of developing a style over fundamentals. If you're a third years student at Cal Arts then you've already surpassed $100,000 on your education. Why would you go into it that far and not get your basic drawing and design skills down first? This is stuff you can get from a Preston Blair book. When my students get to Cal Arts as many of them do they're inherently prepared for the program and they tend to progress beyond the typical Cal Arts look. As a result they also go on to great creative success. Lorelay Bove, Chris Anka, Nelson Boles, Andre Medina to name a few.
Conquer and control your basic skills and you will be a master of style. It will be your slave and do your bidding!
For sure its all about the fundamentals. This is interesting that they are getting such comments. I feel like though that certain shows especially on adult swim are doing no favors to artists where writing seems to be king, and style with no fundamentals rule. I have always been troubled that what is considered children's cartoons are superior in draftsmanship and story, versus what is passed for most adult cartoons. I feel like this could also be inspiring bad trends and habits.
One of the things I've noticed in my career as a concept development artist is that people who aren't artists themselves but who make decisions as to what the look of a project will be oftentimes gravitate towards the worst thing they see. This really baffled me for a long time until a I figured out with the help of a friend that when you're not an artist yourself or don't understand fundamentals or what to look for in good design, odds are they'll choose the work that is closest to what they could do if they were to do it themselves.
I think it makes these people feel safe. You don't have to mess with a high levels of quality visuals. Go for the lowest denominator, one that is accessible, and then it becomes something novel. Back it up with good writing and you don't have to worry too much about how it looks. The audience will get used to it and might even like it.
8 posts • Page 1 of 1